“Undoubtedly, there’s a role for apprenticeships in engineering, manufacturing and construction, but what about a dedicated enterprise apprenticeship that combines a broader offering of enterprise, entrepreneurship and business skills?” asks Dragon Peter Jones in the Guardian today.
He argues that entrepreneurs are made, not born. In other words, if young people are given the high-quality, practical tools to succeed in building their own business, they will – and apprenticeships are a good entry point.
To be effective, though, Britain needs to widen the pool of employers that offer apprenticeships, he says: “We need to innovate to make apprenticeships relevant and feasible to a raft of new employers, particularly SMEs and micro-businesses – the heartbeat of our economy.”
“When I speak to entrepreneurs and small-business owners, they’re vocal in their support for the concept of apprenticeships, but surprisingly few consider them relevant to their business. Moreover, many feel hesitant about making a longer-term commitment to employing an apprentice when they are operating in a persistently challenging economic climate.
To achieve this, Jones suggests alternative apprenticeship models, led by education providers and supported by employers – an enterprise apprenticeship, in other words.
“Young people can extract the most value from an apprenticeship by being given exposure to several businesses and sectors during their apprenticeship term.”
In other words, students would be taken on by a training organisation and complete hands-on workplace assignments with a range of employers, giving them a wider range of enterprise skills.
He concludes: “Education providers and employers of all sizes will need to collaborate seamlessly. But imagine the impact of a new generation of business apprentices entering the workplace that can make a difference from day one.”